The Chicago Fieldhouse

In the 1850’s, a group of Chicagoans set out to create country’s first municipal park and boulevard system. They began by developing large outdoor “pleasure-grounds” intended to be enjoyed by locals as a restorative escape from the chaos of city life.

However, recognizing that Chicago’s winters could be long, harsh, and isolating, and that denizens were longing for year-round activities, the fieldhouse was born. There was no template used — they were built to be everything to everyone. A physical and social home away from home. 

With amenities such as assembly halls, gymnasiums, libraries, locker rooms, and swimming pools, the city could offer an endless flow of activities. The fieldhouse quickly became the the heart of every neighborhood.

Fast forward more than a century, and the social structure of urban life has changed dramatically. But the fieldhouses still stand as reminders of a time when community was more physical and less digital.

View the complete project here.

Jamie KripkeComment